Gambling Commission Decides Not To Fine Ladbrokes Over Stolen Money
The UK Gambling Commission has reportedly decided to not fine Ladbrokes following an investigation over theft.
According to reports, Ladbrokes customer and joint owner of Dubai real estate company We Buy Your Property Tony Parante stole around £1 million from five victims in order to fund his gambling addiction. The theft was reported by The Guardian last year as part of an investigation which also found that Ladbrokes had reportedly showered Parante with gifts including free tickets to football matches and business class flights.
Parante reportedly lost up to £60,000 in two years but nothing was done until all five of Parante’s victims made complaints against Ladbrokes for accepting the stolen funds. The gambling firm then reportedly agreed to compensate the victims a total of £975,000 on one condition; they do not file a complaint to UK Gambling Commission. The victims were also forced into agreeing to not help anyone else from making claims against Ladbrokes, The Guardian reports.
The news prompter the UK Gambling Commission to launch an investigation into the matter but it’s been revealed that the regulatory body has written to Parante to say it won’t be imposing any fines against Ladbrokes over their use of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The Commission reportedly told Parante that it was satisfied “that the NDA you were signatory of did not breach any of our license conditions or regulatory requirements”.
Labour MP Carolyn Harris vented her frustration at the news, telling The Guardian: “Until we reshape the gambling regulations in this country, the industry will continue to exploit and hold vulnerable gamblers to ransom.” She then stated that the regulatory body, which vows to keep players safe, was “complicit in what is actually abuse of power and of individuals.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the UK Gambling Commission said: “In this particular instance the full details were reported by the operator and we have since issued them with advice over their conduct regarding NDAs. We have also ensured that all future NDAs make clear that parties to the agreement can inform the relevant regulator.”
The Commission’s Recent Crackdowns
While the UK Gambling Commission failed to do fine Ladbrokes for its seedy practice here, the firm has been busy imposing sanctions on various other online casino websites. Most recently, the Commission suspended EveryMatrix’s gambling license following an investigation into the licensee.
The news led EveryMatrix to take its gambling websites, which include PlayFrank and Fantasino, offline. Several weeks later, the online casino operator announced that it was withdrawing from the UK market following the Commission’s decision to suspend its license.
Meanwhile, the Commission launched its 12-week consultation on the use of credit cards at online casinos in August, and a report shared several months back revealed that the number of complaints to the Commission against gambling firms had risen 5,000% since 2013.
Over the summer, the UK Gambling Commission introduced new rules to better protect customers. It was revealed that the Commission began forcing operators to regulate player spending while also changing how they operate with customers, particularly those at risk of developing a gambling addiction.